4 unexpected biking lessons with my girlfriend!

Hi, Girlfriends and Guy friends and Happy New Year!    

Accidents can happen so quickly!

Last Sunday was a beautiful day here in Tucson, Arizona.  John and I had just finished eating lunch and I decided to take a spin on my mountain bike around The Voyager RV resort.  My girlfriend Kathi (who is parked right next to us) was available to ride along so we headed out onto the street together. 

We rode side by side around the resort chatting away about all those things that girlfriends talk about when they have a half hour bike ride ahead of them.  Mind you, the two of us had done this ride at least a dozen times.  We began our usual route taking the streets on the outermost loop of The Voyager.  

Without warning

There we were.  Pedaling along without a care in the world.  About 10 minutes into our ride we made the usual left turn onto 18th Street which is a long straight stretch about 1/3 mile long.  At this point, Kathi slowed a bit and tucked behind me since a car was approaching from the opposite direction nearly 4 blocks in front of us.   

All of a sudden I felt a thunk on my back tire.  Before I knew it, my bike was falling down. 

We were probably only going 8 miles an hour and I easily side hopped off of my bike in order to avoid falling to the ground. 

But here’s the thing.  It’s weird what goes through your mind at a time like this. 

In that split second, I thought it odd that Kathi had not shouted any warning like “Oh crap, I’m falling” or “Watch out, I’m going to run into you”. 

As I’m thinking all this, my peripheral vision saw her on the ground- still straddling her bike. Arm flung over her head.    

Busted, literally!

Bad us.

Kathi and I never wore helmets when biking inside the RV resort.  Ugh.  And now I was staring at my girlfriend lying in the street with a head injury!  

I quickly knelt beside her.  She did not respond when I called her name!  She had hit her head on the asphalt and blood was beginning to pool under her head. 

My years of nursing training kicked into gear.

The longest 30 seconds ever

Again, I called her name.  Again she did not respond to my voice.  I noted her breathing was labored.  Her eyes were rolled back.  Her glasses and hearing aides had flown off and were a couple feet to our left. Her left leg was twisted and caught under her bike.  

I grabbed my phone from my bike basket and called 911.  At the same time, a neighbor stuck her head out her door.  I requested wet washcloths and a towel to place under Kathi’s head.  Two people in a golf cart drove up and asked what they could do.  I told them to call the guard gate and inform security. 

After about 30 seconds, Kathi started moving her arms and moaning. 

I was so relieved! 

Keeping calm

She instinctively reached for the back of her head and attempted to raise it off the ground.  Her hand came away covered in her blood.  

As I wiped her hand I began assessing her neuro status. Her pulse was steady but weak, her breathing was now regular.  I continued with; “What is your name?” “Please squeeze my hand” “Stick out your tongue for me”  “Can you smile for me?” “Wiggle your feet” “What day of the week is it?”  “Where are you?”    

Kathi was able to follow my directions but failed the last two questions.  She had no idea where she was or what day of the week it was.  

Meanwhile, a crowd had gathered around us there in the middle of the street.  Several people told me to move her to the side of the road.  Without taking my eyes off of Kathi, I stated. 

Nope.  She is NOT moving.  She is going to stay right here until EMS arrives.   

“What about Lilac?”

As I shaded Kathi’s face she began to talk and ask questions.  “What happened?” “Do I really need to go to the hospital?” “Lilac needs to go inside my camper”.  “This is so embarrassing!”  I and the crowd reassured her as we waited for EMS.  

I called John my husband.  He put Kathi’s cat inside her coach, grab Kathi’s purse, bringing our blood pressure cuff, and my purse.  

It only took him 5 minutes to arrive in our Jeep.  Kathi’s blood pressure was high.  I felt better having John with me!

6 more men to help 

EMS arrived in about 15 minutes and quickly took over the scene.  The team leader asked me dozens of questions as the other 5 assessed Kathi’s condition.  

The drive to the trauma unit of Banner Health Care took 25 minutes.  I was grateful to ride along in the ambulance.  Sitting shotgun up front with the driver I listened as the paramedics cared for Kathi in the rear.  I was impressed with their focused attention; continually assessing Kathi’s level of consciousness and her vitals. 

Impresssive trauma unit 

I walked behind the paramedics as they wheeled Kathi into trauma room #3.  

There to greet her were 9 trauma team members.   Yes, 9! 

What followed was like watching a choreographed dance team.

Each person had their assigned duties and position.  Within 2 minutes they had Kathi on IV fluids, monitors, all tests ordered and fully assessed. 

From the outside looking in

I stood outside the room watching.  Suddenly I was approached by the trauma unit social worker and chaplain.  They stared into my eyes asking questions with such concern for Kathi that I burst into tears.  Apologizing for my emotional reaction I attempted to describe the relief I felt watching my friend being attended to.  Their response was simply to hug me, which naturally caused me to cry some more!

By 6 p.m. a room was ready for Kathi.  She had sustained a concussion and luckily her CT scan was negative for additional trauma.  We helped her get settled then headed back to The Voyager to check on her cat and close her windows for the night.  

The next day I spoke to Kathi’s nurse on the phone to see when discharge papers would be ready.  John and I drove down to Banner medical center and brought Kathi home around 3 pm.  What a relief she felt!  

It’s a week later and we’ve kept a very close eye on my dear friend.  It is a pleasure to see her feeling better with each passing day.  

Lessons learned

  1.  Helmets.  We will now ALWAYS wear helmets, even if we are simply biking three blocks to check our mailbox.  Remember, your head doesn’t know the difference between a fall at 8 mph or 50 mph.  Please learn from my stupidity!  Begin 2019 by wearing a bike helmet or order one below.  Your head is worth protecting!  
  2. Education.  I’m sharing this story so you won’t experience what Kathi and I went through. Please spread the word
  3. Eat food before biking.  We are still not sure what made Kathi fall off her bike last week.  She cannot remember if she lost her balance after feeling dizzy, or if she got distracted by something causing her to wobble and fall.  What we do know is that she had not eaten yet and that might have been the cause for her lightheadedness. 
  4. Listen to a friend’s knowledgeable advice.  I was grateful Kathi was not alone when she fell.  I’m also thankful she listened to me when I insisted she receive an evaluation at the hospital.  It wasn’t until arriving at the trauma unit that she recognized her symptoms were serious.     
  5. It’s important to replace your bike helmets about every three years. Did you know that there is new helmet technology that addresses “concussion-mitigation”?  Read about it here.  

How about your story?

Now that you’ve heard my biking boo-boo do you have one to share?  

What other advice do you have to share that would be helpful to us all?

Do you wear a helmet when biking?  If not, why not?  Will you order one in the links below?  

Wishing you all a safe and adventurous 2019!

Your unlikely RVer,


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8165 miles of an Unlikely RV Adventure

Happy New Year, Girlfriends and Guy friends.

Strap in for a pictorial review of our 2017 travel adventures.  Who knows? There might be a photo of you in here.

The RV Parky Ap helps a ton when you are planning.

This is the route of our entire year. 

January 2017

Hearing Greg Laurie speak in Riverside, California.

(American Pastor and Author of over 70 books).

Campfire at Wilderness Lakes RV Resort, Menifee, California, with our friends Lori and John Allen and their dog Gizmo.

Biking to the top of Diamond Valley Reservoir, Menifee, California.

Hiking to the top of Mt. Rubidoux, Riverside, California.

Reunion with John’s childhood next-door-neighbor, Natalie, in the suburbs of Los Angeles.

 February 2017

Cheering the Packers with fellow Wisconsinites Kate, Tom, and Lindsay Ebert in San Diego, California.

Our Staycation.

Got a doggie friendly hotel room in San Diego and saw the sites.

Newmar Gathering in Quartzite, Arizona.

 March 2017

Yuma, Arizona. Hike up Telegraph Hill.

Eating Fish Tacos and slurping Fig Shakes at From the Farm Restaurant, Yuma, Arizona.

March through May of 2017

John celebrates being able to work for Paul Wheeler- with the legendary

Cinnamon Roll that brought us to Tucson!


Spring arrives in the Sonoran desert of Tucson.

 Get it?

GJ?  Gretty/John?

Touring the Pima County Air and Space Museum in Tucson.

Hiking to the top of Mt. Wrightson, Tucson, Arizona, in the Santa Rita Mountains.

Elevation: 9456 feet.

 AireInn gets fresh oil and filters at Freightliner in Tucson, Arizona, prior to our summer road trip. May 2017

On the road to St. Clair Winery, Deming, New Mexico.

 June 2017

Visiting with friends Phil and Deb in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Visiting the Wizard of Oz Museum in Wamego, Kansas.

The unexpected detour to St. Louis for my favorite Uncle’s funeral.  Me with my cousin’s Beth and Sarah, and Penny too.

 Up to Madison, Wisconsin and a visit with our special friend, Linda.

 Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin.  Out to dinner with John’s sister, Teri, and niece, Shannon.July, 2017

Doesn’t every family have an annual meeting at the family cottage?

Celebrating 4th of July with around 60 of my relatives at Lake James, Angola, Indiana.

Celebrating at The Lake!

August 2017

Travel to Philadelphia for our highlight of the year!

Sean and Mira got married on August 12.

Aren’t they the cutest couple?

Being goofy.

Great reunions!

 How blessed am I?

Mira’s lovely aunties and uncles.

The Rehearsal dinner- Estia Restaurant, Center City, Philadelphia.

Family fun at the rehearsal dinner!

Bollywood party!

Back to Lake James for an extended stay and my 60th birthday.

Sister Margaret samples Johnny’s pulled pork fresh off the grill.

Friends Cheryl and Bob attended the birthday party.

To St. Louis for a Cardinal Baseball game with my cousins.

 September 2017

Visiting John’s niece Megan and her husband Mike in Independence, Missouri.

Detouring to Texas.

Stocking up with donations to help those affected by Hurricane Harvey.

Privileged to volunteer with this organization.

The clean-up from Hurricane Harvey begins.

Remnants of the mucking process.

Photo op with Mr. Clyde after we mucked out his home.

Got poison oak rash, so John and I volunteered inside at Disaster Headquarters of The Woodlands Church.

Hanging with our friend Rhonda, who is one of the “Pack” leaders of the Cheddarheads of Houston.

Parked on my cousin, Beth’s, driveway, in San Antonio, Texas.

BBQ time with my cousin Beth and her husband Greg at Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ. 

Fill-up and Clean-up.  On our way across western Texas.

Dinner and dry camping at Cattleman’s Ranch Steakhouse, Fabens, Texas.

Bucket list item!

Chillaxin’ at the Cattleman’s Ranch.

Visiting White Sands National Monument, Alamogordo, New Mexico.

We did a five-mile hike through the soft sand.

November 2017

Training hike outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.

Preparing for our Grand Canyon backpacking trip.

Summiting the highest point of Arizona; Humphrey’s Peak, Flagstaff.

Touring Walnut Canyon National Monument, just outside of Flagstaff.

Visiting Meteor Crater, just outside of Winslow, Arizona.

All our bags are packed, we’re ready to go… Rim to Rim in the Grand Canyon.

One final look from the North Rim before we set out.

Heading down.

“Unbelievable!” he exclaimed.

Side hike to Ribbon Falls.

The Silver Bridge is about a quarter mile long.  These grates tend to move as you walk across them.  A bit harrowing!  At times I managed to bravely look down into the rushing water of the Colorado River.  This bridge also houses the trans-canyon water pipeline.

John gets a well-deserved nap.

Sealing our Rim-to-Rim trip with a kiss.  We did it!

 Our massive site at the Zane Grey Campground, Camp Verde, Arizona.

Reconnecting with our friend, Sue, for a hike that lies between Prescott and Jerome, Arizona.

Very beautiful hike to Fossil Creek Waterfall, Camp Verde, Arizona.

November 2017 

Hiking in Sedona, Arizona.

A lovely meet-up with our friends Theresa and John in Sun City, Arizona.

Training for flat tires and The Tour de Tucson bike ride.

Meet up with dear friends Kate and Tom at Weaver’s Needle RV Resort, Apache Junction, Arizona.

Arriving back at The Voyager RV Resort.

Our home for the next five months in Tucson, Arizona.

November 18.

The finishing Podium at The Tour de Tucson.

And it was John’s birthday!

Happy birthday, John!

We celebrated with 8000 of our best friends.

I prompted many riders and spectators to wish John a happy birthday.  Yay!

Flying from Tucson to Madison, Wisconsin on Thanksgiving Day to attend John’s friend Kevin’s wedding.

Kevin and Lisa exchanging their vows.

December 2017

Fun evening with friends Cindy and Mark walking through Winterhaven neighborhood Christmas light display in Tucson.

Full of joy this Christmas!

Penny gets attention from our friend, Ray, in our coach at The Voyager.

Santa delivered packages to our coach.

A quick trip to Apache Junction to visit my dear friend Lindsay as she visits her parents Tom and Kate.

Bringing in New Years Day with a bonfire. Goodbye 2017, hello 2018!


Your Unlikely RVer, Gretty

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